Gabby ChavesStar Mazda Championship Driver Gabby Chaves is excited to announce his involvement with the newly created “Take 5 To Stay Alive – Don’t Text and Drive” campaign in southern Florida. Committed to road safety, the ambassador of the FIA Institute in America and FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy racer is the spokesperson for this important new program.

While Gabby’s primary focus for the past few years has always been to reach the upper echelons of motorsports, he is also making time to help promote safe driving on the streets and highways. This led the former Italian Formula 3 Championship Rookie of the Year and Formula BMW Americas champion being invited by Sergeant Mark Wysocky of the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to be part of a Drivers Ed program in South Florida, and subsequently recommended him as the spokesperson for the new “Take 5 To Stay Alive – Don’t Text and Drive” campaign.

Currently 16% of all distracted driving crashes involve drivers under the age of 20, with texting being the primary cause. In effort to help prevent these crashes and save lives, the “Take 5 To Stay Alive – Don’t Text and Drive” campaign is focused on young drivers. As an 18 year-old with vast driving experience and training, Chaves is the ideal voice for the new program. As one of the 18 young drivers from the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy, Chaves is receiving advanced testing and training in and out of the car, covering all aspects of driver performance and safety. Using the skills gained from multiple FIA workshops throughout the year, he will promote road safety and responsible driving throughout the Americas.

The “Take 5 To Stay Alive – Don’t Text and Drive” campaign kick-off event took place on May 11, where Commissioner La Marca and Ralph Marrinson read the Proclamation by the Board of County Commissioners designating the month of May as “Take 5 to Stay Alive- Don’t text and Drive” month.

“It’s simple to do and can save your life. Take a break from driving and pull off the road to use your cell phone”, stated Commissioner La Marca. …”sending or receiving a text message takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blindfolded at 55 mph”, he added.

Gabby will now travel to Vienna, Austria, to take part in the fourth FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy workshop. The four-day training (15-18 May) will take place at TTI’s Road Safety Training Centre, where drivers will learn the skills they need to perform basic road safety training for different target groups. They will also learn about training methodology, scientific research and the positive influence of road safety training on society.

The participants then take to the track for a series of training exercises, which will further develop their skills in the craft of being road safety ambassadors. This includes tests using slaloms, skid-plates and low friction surfaces to emulate the conditions that can catch out the unwary or untrained. The course concludes with participants making a presentation on road safety, which sets out to demonstrate the progress they have made towards becoming road safety ambassadors…

After his training at the FIA Institute, Gabby will return to the U.S.A to compete in Round Five of the Star Mazda Championship on May 26, at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis as part of the Night Before the 500. He enters the opening oval event on the series calendar currently third in the title chase.